Origami Project, more hype than substance


Samsung Q1
We have to commend Microsoft for its Origami Project marketing campaign but usually when things are over hyped like the Origami it ends in a letdown – think Segway. The details coming out for the Origami Project makes us feel no different, people were tossing around the ‘killer’ label for everything, from iPods, PSPs, Blackberrys, and Treos. Early reports speculated that Origami might be a new hardware product from Microsoft, but it turned out Microsoft is providing the software for a device that will be build by partners like Samsung using Intel processors. So pretty much it is a glorified Windows OS running on a low-voltage mobile processor.

The ultramobile system is hardly a new concept. At Microsoft’s WinHEC conference last April, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates revealed plans for a lightweight machine in a form factor that falls between a PDA and a tablet PC. At the time, he said Microsoft and its partners would launch the product in 2006.

The first Origami device will be revealed by Samsung tomorrow at CeBit. It is a handheld computer that falls somewhere between a tablet PC and a PDA and runs a special edition of Windows XP.

The device measures about 15cm by 20 cm, or half the size of a sheet of copier paper, and is known officially as an ultramobile device. Samsung’s product, called the Q1, runs on a 900MHz Intel Corp. Celeron microprocessor and has 500MB of RAM.
The Q1 which was on show at Samsung’s Cebit booth a day ahead of the show here in Hanover. It boasts both WLAN (wireless local area network), 802.11 A/G and Bluetooth connections, and uses touch-screen controls. It runs an instant-on multimedia player so users don’t have to launch the full XP operating system to watch a video.

As you can see the Samsung Q1 will not have any cellular capability so it will never be able to compete with the Blackberry or the Treo. Also the lack of keyboard will turn off many email warriors not to mention the size which is too large to fit in a pocket. However, this is the first ever device running on the new Origami platform so Microsoft may still be able to surprise us.